Monday, August 18, 2008

Jeh's Vegas trip report

> Here's my Martin-in-Vegas wannabe cash game report from the
> Venetian. Session starts at midnight on a Sunday night, and I sit
> down as the 8th player at an open table. On first impression, half
> the table appears to be tourist d0nks and the other half look like
> they know what they're doing. No stacks over 400, only one stack
> above 300. Since buy in at Venetian is 100-300, no one appears to
> have enough chips to bully the table around. Everyone is quiet and
> passive (yummy), so I play my default Vegas style of tight
> aggressive with huge emphasis on position.
> Off we go, and on my first button, I find AJoff. There is one limper
> so I raise to 15. everyone folds except for UTG limper, who calls.
> Flop comes Kd Qd 10h. Yahtzee! I flopped Broadway. Villain checks, I
> bet 30 and he shoves for 100 total. I insta call, show Broadway, and
> the turn, river get dealt, coming 7, 7, non diamonds, and he flips
> over AK in disgust and walks away. Nice start, 5 min in and I'm up
> 100.
> I'm in mid position with AQ off. UTG raises to 17. One call, action
> to me. I raise to 45. Tight passive Lady flat calls. Original raiser
> calls. Flop is red j black j and red 2, no flush draw. Checks to me,
> I bet 70 and take it down.
> Limp with 6 2 off on button. Five others. Flop is k q x, 2 clubs.
> Checks around, no one seems to want it, and I fire 10. Lady who
> short bought calls. Turn brings 8 of clubs, completing the flush.
> She checks I bet 20 she flats. She has 45 behind. I put her on a
> slow playing flush or weak K. I think there's equal chance of both.
> River brings a red 10. She checks and I fire it all in, as I'm about
> 50/50 on both sides of my read. She insta calls and show 78c. Stupid
> me.
> 57d in cutoff. 4 limpers to me. Me and button flat and blinds
> complete and check. Flop is 3s 4h 8s giving me a gutter. Checks all
> around. Glorious 6c hits on turn giving me current vulnerable nuts.
> Checks to me, I bet 15 BB calls. River brings 10s, getting a spade
> draw there and also the 79. BB checks and I decide to value bet my
> straight for 15 since I think I'm still good. He hems and haws,
> calls, I show, and he mucks, tapping the table.
> New asian chick in her 20s (we'll call her Evelyn Ng wannabe) sits
> down at the table. In her first rotation, I get mixed up in a hand
> with her when I limp in SB with A5h and 5 limpers. "Evelyn" is in
> cutoff. Flop is A 7 8 rainbow. I check and everyone checks to her,
> and she bets 10. I flat and turn brings 4x, putting a non heart
> flush draw on board. I check and she bets 10 again. I flat again
> with my top pair and gutter draw. River brings another 7, no flush
> on board. Board is now A 7 8 4 7. She bets 15, I flat, and she turns
> over AK suited (see below for observation notes).
> Kjd in cutoff. One limper UTG. I raise to 15. Only SB calls. Flop is
> Kh 9h 3d. SB d0nk bets 25. I raise to 60. He thinks, then flats. He
> has roughly 45 total left behind and I'm pretty sure he's sending it
> in. Turn is 6d, giving me a flush draw now too. He checks, I ship
> it, he calls and an A heart drops. Flop flush draw gets there. But I
> turn over my KJ anyways - and he turns over K10. I win a nice pot of
> about 190.
> At this point im up 400. The rest of the night goes smooth sailing,
> I raise pre flop, some callers, c bet, and take the pot. End the
> night up $530 for 2 and a half hours of poker.
> Observations:
> 1) 1-2 nl hold em in vegas remains SUPREMELY beatable. Oh how I wish
> there was a bet with Jason about this. I have never felt more
> strongly about anything in my life.
> 2) The new line in cash games is to flat call with AK. No matter how
> many callers. I saw this three times In showdowns, where twice, late
> position, 3-5 limpers, the AK would flat. A would hit on flop, AK
> bets or calls, no raising. Amazingly, three times AK held up and won
> a moderate pot (the only time it didn't was my flopped Broadway
> hand). I'm pretty sure seeing it work like this encourages that kind
> of play (and I absolutely love it). Watch out for that if u are
> playing a live casino cash game anywhere.


jtrey333 said...

2 things:

- sorry about the crappy formatting in my post. Had to push it using blogger's mail-to post feature and it read the forwarding synols. Lame.

- I lost $200 at Binion's playing double deck blackjack. Sucked. Funfact: despite not owning the WSoP brand any longer, they still have the wall of main event champs. It's now called "Binion's Wall of Champions" or something like that. .

Sushi Cowboy said...

Nice work and report! AK is only good enough for. TPTK mining now, eh? Good to know. Keep up the good work. And if you thumb typed that report on your phone then you get bonus points.

jsola said...

Great report!

I have some questions about your playstyle at these donk-heavy live games.

- Do you always c-bet?

- How profitable do you think 2 and 3 barreling is? I very, very rarely bluff at these kind of games, and normally I'm giving up if my first barrel gets called.

- What's your rationale behind limping with 62o there? Are you calling with any two cards?

Sushi Cowboy said...

>> Also, Jeh.
>> Don't get too cocky about winning.
>> 1/2 games are totally unbeatable!
>> It's been proven. So therefore,
>> mathematically you're due for a
>> big losing session. The odds don't
>> lie!

jtrey333 said...

Martin, ship me those bonus points, cause I types that whole thing on my iPhone! It wouldn't be very martin-trip-report like unless I did so.

As for being cocky, I'm really not trying to be - I'm just very confident in our group's abilities vs the d0nks here in vegas. I don't doubt that we'd have losing sessions, and I certainly have had mine, but long term, we'd be waaaay +EV.

Joe, I'll have a more detailed followup for ya later :)

jtrey333 said...


Nope, I definitely do not always c-bet - but I did 90% of the time last night. Normally I *don't* c bet unless I have a piece of it in Vegas, as usually people are more apt to gamble in vegas: thats what they are here to do.

However, after observing the table after a couple of orbits, watching how people were playing their hands and examining the showdowns, it was apparent that people were just playing their hands. It was very passive and loose and if ppl had what they thought was a decent starting hand, they'd call up to 20 preflop. This includes any suited connector and ranges such as JQ.

The best part of the table makeup last night was how transparent their playing was post flop. They'd bet or check call if they hit something or a draw, and if they didnt have anything, they'd check or fold to a bet. No one else was playing tricky, and that makes things super easy, as there was no point in two or three barrel bluffing at the table I was at last night.

The best advice I can give is just to make sure u accurately size up the table. Not only in spotting the n00bs but observing their tells, bet sizes (huge), and starting hand requirements. Also I think something that goes unnoticed is not only the table "mood", but also the common opening raise, as there always is an "established", correct raise to narrow down the field or make a huge one. For example, 15 was the correct raise last night to narrow down the field to one or two callers. However 10 or 12 led to multiple callers most of the time, even tho it is 5x-6x the BB.

jtrey333 said...

oh - and about the 6 2 - that was just a stupid, stupid play. I'm likely to call with any two on the button simply because I had super passive players on my left in the SB and BB, and I knew they weren't likely to raise. I decided on a whim to turn it into a bluff and just didn't know when to stop. A better play was to fold it preflop, but I just couldn't resist calling with any two on button knowing I was prolly not Goin to get raised preflop on a call.

Marshall said...

Great work dude, you crusher you.

And we DO have a bet with Jason, we just need to get all 3 of us (you me and Ry) down there to play at the same time. Of course with Jason there too. I am still reading the comments here btw..

Sushi Cowboy said...

Mr. Trey, bonus points en route! I mean at least I had real keys to punch and for longer posts I'd pull out my portable keyboard. Thumbtyping that much on a glass da man!

Kidding about being cocky of course. Just wanted to comment on how unbeatable the 1/2 tables are.

jtrey333 said...

oh yea, I also forgot to mention how lucky I was to come out ahead, despite the 1-2 tables being unbeatable. Dammit Martin, always raining on my parade...

Marshall said...

Finished reading the comments, great stuff. A lot of what you have always said about Vegas poker but with some valuable additions.

I am with you on the bluffing part, I am very picky about when to make a real bluff in Vegas. It always sorta sucks to be handcuffed to playing real hands and showing down real hands, but with the sheer number of weak/tight and/or loose/passive players at the tables, you just have to.

jason said...

OK now for the Jason comments. Jeh, you are playing well and I don't mean to take anything away from you. But I do want to note that you have hit and that you had a nice second best hand out there to watch them stack off. On the flopped broadway hand, most of the WNP crowd will likely lose about half of their stack, if not all considering he was somewhat shortstacked. He did have top top so it does not appear to be a superdonk move. The K-10 hand the villain should have got away from but again it was nice to have a second best hand out there.

The last time I played 1/2 in Vegas, I had KK against AA. I had K 10 on a flop of ATT, against AT. I had 3,5 suited on a flop of A55 against A5, I had AK on a Ace high board against a set of deuces, the one hand I could have got away from. No one in the WNP crowd would have come out ahead with the big selection of second best hands I got to play. A great player would have just lost less than I did.

Looking at your hands the one hand where you totally ruled was the AQ hand where you took it down with a preflop 3 bet and a C Bet on a paired board flop. I don't think you had the best hand here but you took it down anyways, that's great poker. You have one donk play you acknowledged with the 6,2 os. Don't play Jason style hands in Vegas, image is way less important as you will likely never see these people again.

I do believe that when you are playing late at night at the Venetian you will see way more people willing to gamble with stupid hands and you were fortunate to find a loose passive table.

My bet still stands with the one caveat that it will be daytime play. We would have to play a statistically significant amount of hands, like 3 or 4 players 2 days 6 hours of play per day each. I still don't think we can win.

Congratulations on your accomplishments though. It is great to see you win and I ultimately would be fine if I lose the bet. I mean, who wants to keep heading to Vegas to keep losing money. Keep up the great play and prove me wrong!

Marshall said...

Jase you always have a rebuttal as to why one of us who has one didn't earn it or something, even though the fact is, that Jeh knows what he is doing, and he (fore example) is not going broke with KT on a K high board when someone is willing to go all in.

One of the key skills to use is patience in Vegas. Which means waiting for a really good spot to get your money in... which he did. I am sure Jeh (as well as myself and others) has made "big" laydowns (tptk or somesuch) in Vegas waiting for the right spot to ship.

I am not sure why you are referencing your 2nd best hands in this comment. It makes it painfully obvious that your opinions are based on your own experiences, as these references have nothing to do with this post. You took some bad beats/coolers, its that simple. Part of normal variance.

I will however say that A) I can't wait to do the bet someday when schedules allow, and B) I do love this debate and you are really the fuel behind it. Keep it up.

jtrey333 said...

I don't really mean to keep beating on a dead horse... but I guess I will. Jason, I just don't understand why you want to recreate a situation that is DIFFERENT than the norm - i.e. a rare experience or two that you had during the day at a particular time with an unusually high number of solid players at your table.

I have had over 15 unique experiences playing a 1-2 NL table in Vegas, half of them during the day, and only ONCE have I had an experience such as yours. The 1-2 NL tables are just FILLED with d0nks who will call 20 preflop with K 10 off and stack off when they hit top pair of any sort. FILLED with them. Players who will limp with AK, then call a raise (never taking the lead in a hand), then check raise their entire stack on a board w/ a possible straight and a very possible two pair board. Or stack off with any pocket pair because they saw it on TV.

As for the second best hands you experienced, those were all definite coolers. As we've witnessed through you and Martin, and our own experiences, coolers definitely happen, and they happen to everyone. I myself would have stacked off with those hands. But, over the long run, if you get your money in with flopped trips or have a situation where you have KK and get it all in preflop, and these situations are at Vegas 1-2 tables, I'm 100% certain that you would be EV+.

We are talking about the lowest level of NL hold em. the lowest! The entry level where someone who has watched it on TV, and decides to sit down on vacation to see if they're any good at it. The lowest level, where people from their weekly $10 home games play. The lowest level, where someone playing online for .05-.10 decides to try it live for once. The level where a guy tries it his very first time because his friend will walk him through the proper procedures and etiquette, and tell him whether 3 of a kind beats two pair (I had TWO pairs of these guys at my table the other night).

Seriously, I don't WANT to visit that Twilight Zone of a 1-2 table that you encountered! And again, if I ever did, and it wasn't part of some weird bet to recreate that situation, I would just ask for a table change... but yes, I'm 1000% up for the bet to somehow "find" this crazy table that you described..

helendasmellinmelon said...

The bet is totally on and I am glad you guys stand by your convictions. My point here is this though, Jeh Chow, Marsh, Ryan and others are great players and are going to be EV positive in a rake free environment against Vegas players.

Once you introduce rake, to the severity Vegas does, then you need to play at tables with really bad players. You found one of these tables and it seems like you ran good, so yes you can beat this table.

But a typical table I have found in Vegas during the day is composed of all male 20 and 30 somethings, generally experienced with a couple old guys and one or 2 tourists. Here my bet is that the WNP crowd is in for at best a break even proposition and I will put my money where my mouth is on this one.

The guy with K10 was indeed a donk but the AK player, while unconventional in his style of play, is going to stack off here almost no matter how he plays it.

Suppose he takes the lead and raises preflop, button calls everyone else folds. Unlikely button is going to lay down AJ from the button. Flop is KQT. You flop top pair and a gutter. You likely lead out.

Option 1 button raises. Do you fold here with 60 BB. I doubt it.

Button calls. Next card is a low card, you likely lead out but could check call. Either way you will end up committing your whole stack and will be all in.

My point is this player is not a donk, he just unlucky. Playing 100+BB yes, you should get away, here in his situation it is an auto stack off.

I hope you crush the tables and come home a grand winner. But I stand by my bet and look forward to some prop action with you all.

Ryan said...

[09:04] Jason G.: no comments from Ryan on the latest Jeh Chow thats not poker post??? Maybe we have beaten the subject to death???
[09:04] Ryan: Pretty much.
[09:05] Ryan: The breadth of your claim fluctuates every time it comes up
[09:05] Ryan: (From "Vegas 1/2 is unbeatable" to "that table I was playing at that day with that rake structure was unbeatable")
[09:06] Ryan: So I don't even know what you are trying to argue anymore.
[09:07] Ryan: Given free reign to play where we choose and request table changes, during the day, we could crush 1/2 in Vegas.
[09:08] Jason G.: I think that would be a solid proposition. I would be up for the bet.
[09:09] Ryan: and if your big point is that "when playing with an oppressive rake against tight, skilled opponents, a game is unbeatable,"
[09:09] Ryan: well, who is going to deny that?

Marshall said...

Ya I am with the chat that Ryan posted there for sure. If we just go play poker in Vegas, Ryan Jeh and I (and others no doubt) (Not you Chuck) would be able to beat the game. I think that the wildly oppressive rake does inhibit us from being able to soundly stomp it, but we would be able to show a profit over a significant trial period, I have faith in that.

I mean if we played at a table with good players, I doubt even a really good player could overcome the rake, but the fact is, day or night, the tables AREN'T filled with good players at 1-2.

The fact is, the opposite is true..

jason said...

Just for kicks, in case we can pull this trip off, here is my proposed bet for the Vegas trip. Ryan, Marsh, and Jeh, you are the team captains, you can play with just the 3 of you or you can invite others to join your team. Your choice.

Play in Vegas at either the MGM Grand, Venetian, Caesar's, or Planet Hollywood. I think all of these places have sufficiently oppressive rate structures. I have played at all of these places and they seem to attract reasonably good players during the day. Binion's does not count as the rake is not as oppressive there.

Use your chips to pay for the implied rake of tipping the dealer when you win pots. Tip whatever is usual and customary for you. I have seen both Marsh and Jeh play and I believe they tip fairly, Ryan, I would assume you would do the same. Pay for drinks and tipping cocktail waitresses from a wad of cash in your pocket. The drinks and cocktail tips don't count against your roll.

Play in the day, say anytime before 8 p.m. Night in Vegas does not start until late so I will count up to 8 p.m. as daytime.

Play at least 36 hours of poker collectively.

Honor rules:

If you find a table with 7 guys completely wasted during the day all wearing name tags from a convention and they are all downing vodka martinis, play as long as you want but don't count your wins or losses towards the bet. In other words, if you find something way easier than the norm, great, but this is not the point of the bet. Table changes are fine if you find the opposite with 10 players who are all guest commentators on poker strategy sites.

Plus or minus say $200 for the group for 36 hours of play is a push. If you are winning, you are not even clearing minimum wage, if you are losing 36 hours of entertainment for $200 is a bargain.

We can determine bet size based on our bankrolls at the time.

Sound like a fair prop bet?

Sushi Cowboy said...

I really think there is nothing to prove here. Jason is saying that you cannot beat 1/2 tables against tough opponents and running into coolers. I don't see how anyone could argue that. Those conditions are a recipe for losing money.

What Ryan, Marsh, and Jeh are saying is that tough opponents and coolers are not the norm at 1/2 tables.

I just think that a prop bet like this is unfeasible to execute. If/when the group comes out with $200++ dollars after 36 hours I can easily see sticking points about the quality of the play at the tables. Getting tables full of players which exactly match Jason's specifications is going to be an exercise in futility. The contention that certain specific tables are unbeatable would be nearly impossible to prove by replication. I haven't gone through all the posts but I am fairly certain that there are well over 36 hours of daytime play between Ryan, Marsh, and Jeh which combined easily exceed $200. So if that is not good enough why bother putting in 36 more hours?

Ryan said...

"If/when the group comes out with $200++ dollars after 36 hours I can easily see sticking points about the quality of the play at the tables."

Which is why I would never agree to a prop bet in which we are expected to identify overly-donkish tables and exclude them from our totals. Besides being subjective and unmeasurable, it's just silly.

If we find the seven-drunken-conventioneers table at 3:00 and crush it, too bad for you, that's why prop bets are gambling.

jason said...

Ryan you do have a good point, prop bets are by their nature a gambling proposition. In reality, its probably a mute point, you will walk into a casino and there will more than likely be a wait list to sit down. You will get a table and it will be truly random, so whatever you get, you get. I was trying to find a happy medium between Jason searches for tough tables which sounds like no fun for all of you and the team searching for easy tables to win the prop bet. If its random, that's probably good enough.

Martin, you are correct this experiment won't really prove anything, its just a bet. Unless these guys go to Vegas, camp out and play $1/$2 everyday for a month we won't eliminate the variance.

I am looking for great players to play average daytime tables in Vegas with large rakes and to see whether or not it is beatable on just this one ocassion. One side or the other will grumble about the Aces vs. Kings or the donks or lack thereof. But in the end, its just a bet with each side believing they have a better chance of winning.